Is It Safe To Refreeze Meat?

While refreezing thawed chicken is ultimately safe (if not guaranteed to result in the most delicious poultry you've ever tasted), this might make you wonder about the prospects of thawing and refreezing other types of meat such as beef and pork.

In short, the same rule of thumb applies. The United States Department of Agriculture says it's perfectly safe to refreeze previously-thawed meat (via USDA). This, of course, applies only if you've thawed meat properly, in the refrigerator — not at room temperature or in the microwave. Refreezing previously-thawed meat isn't a question of whether it has the potential to make you sick, it's a question about quality control. Even the FDA, not usually known for its cooking tips, concedes that "... there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing."

A test found that tasters prefer meat cooked when it's fresh, and were able to discern a noticeable difference in texture and juiciness between meat that had been frozen once and meat that had been frozen twice (via HuffPost).

What happens to meat after refreezing it

On a scientific level, freezing meat multiple times causes the water, which changes to ice, to become sharp enough to cut and tear the protein cells of the meat. This, in turn, results in the muscle fibers becoming damaged, and when finally cooked, the fibers are unable to retain the moisture, resulting in a dry and unappetizing bite.

In addition to moisture loss, it can cause the color and odor of the meat to change and can result in oxidation of the meat, which causes a deterioration in quality (via Healthline).

Although it's perfectly safe to do so, you're best off cooking all the frozen meat you have once you've thawed it. The good news is that even if you make too much, your cooked dish should hold up fine for a couple of days in the refrigerator, so you'll be all set on the leftover front (via Reader's Digest).